CNN is reporting that both President Barack Obama and President-elect Donald Trump were presented with classified documents last week which included allegations that Russian agents claim to be in possession of compromising personal and financial information about Trump. This report stems from information obtained by CNN from several US officials with direct knowledge of last week’s briefings.
The allegations are in a two-page synopsis that was attached to a report, viewed by the president and president-elect, concerning Russian efforts to interfere with the 2016 election. Some of the allegations came from memos compiled by a former British intelligence agent, who has a credible history according to US intelligence officials. The FBI is currently investigating to see if there’s any truth behind these allegations, which are mainly based on information from Russian sources but have yet to confirm any of the key details in the memos concerning Trump.
These allegations concerning communications between Trump’s presidential campaign and the Russians were mentioned in classified briefings for congressional leaders in 2016. Sources tell CNN that these same allegations prompted the-Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid to send a memo to FBI Director Comey in October. Reid wrote:
It has become clear that you possess explosive information about close ties and coordination between Donald Trump, his top advisors, and the Russian government — a foreign interest openly hostile to the United States.”
CNN confirms that the synopsis was included in the report presented to Trump but could not confirm if these allegations were discussed in his meeting with U.S. intelligence leaders.
Trump’s transition team has also declined to comment on this matter.
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Allegations that Trump may be compromised by the Russian government are not new. One-time 2016 Republican presidential candidate Evan McMullin floated the claim during a CNN interview last September.
I hear from some of my old intelligence friends that Donald Trump has been engaged in some activities in Russia that Vladimir Putin may be using to blackmail Trump,” McMullin said “There is a lot going on there that I don’t think has come to light fully…You can see it in Donald Trump’s actions.”
Skip to the 1:54 mark to hear McMullin’s remarks.
Motherjones published a report alleging that a Russian spy gave the FBI information about a Russian government operation designed to cultivate Donald Trump as a foreign asset. From Motherjones:
In June, the former Western intelligence officer—who spent almost two decades on Russian intelligence matters and who now works with a US firm that gathers information on Russia for corporate clients—was assigned the task of researching Trump’s dealings in Russia and elsewhere, according to the former spy and his associates in this American firm. This was for an opposition research project originally financed by a Republican client critical of the celebrity mogul. (Before the former spy was retained, the project’s financing switched to a client allied with Democrats.) ‘It started off as a fairly general inquiry,’ says the former spook, who asks not to be identified. But when he dug into Trump, he notes, he came across troubling information indicating connections between Trump and the Russian government. According to his sources, he says, ‘there was an established exchange of information between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin of mutual benefit.'”
If these allegations are proven to be true, this will present a political and constitutional crisis that could have far-reaching ramifications beyond the legitimacy of Trump’s presidency. It could also trigger a second Cold War with Russia.